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Last Week in AI #47

AI Export Limits, Politics Bots, and more!

Last Week in AI #47

Image credit: THE ATLANTIC / GETTY

Mini Briefs

U.S. government limits exports of artificial intelligence software

The U.S. government enacted a new rule that mandates companies exporting “geospatial imagery software” commonly used for military applications (for example, to identify targets from drone) but also for civilian applications must first apply for a license. This export rule stems from a 2018 law, “which tasked the [Commerce Deparment] with writing rules to boost oversight of exports of sensitive technology to adversaries like China, for economic and security reasons.”

It’s worth noting that the export limit is fairly small and “will likely be welcomed by industry […] because it had feared a much broader crackdown.” Whether the rule is effective in practice remains to be seen, as the AI community is generally fairly open to sharing developments, code, and data freely on the Internet.

The Future of Politics Is Robots Shouting at One Another

While misinformation campaigns and bots that spam online forums have existed for a long time, recent developments in affordable and easy-to-use AI tools have the potential to significantly amplify their effectiveness. With current technology, it is possible for a malicious actor to create a large number of bots with “persistent personas,” complete with an AI-generated face and a stylized language model to generate seemingly personal comments regarding specific issues. These bots would be much harder to detect, and they have the potential “to overwhelm actual political speech” on the Internet.

While better authentication and real-person verification schemes can help curb these bots, this might not always be a good idea as “anonymous speech is essential for robust political debate.”

In the end, any solutions have to be nontechnical. We have to recognize the limitations of online political conversation, and again prioritize face-to-face interactions.

Advances & Business

Concerns & Hype

Analysis & Policy

Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field


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